National Walking Horse Association National Championship is under way in Tennessee

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Tennessee Walking Horse
One month ago, the Tennessee Walking Horse show community was in the midst of its biggest annual event, the Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. Walking Horses are back in Shelbyville this week, but for a very different national show. The National Walking Horse Association (NWHA), a group dedicated to sound, flat-shod Tennessee Walking Horses is holding its own National at the Calsonic Arena through Saturday, Sept. 28.

The Tennessee Walking Horse is best-known for its signature running walk, a smooth, ground-covering gait enhanced through generations of selective breeding. In the mid-20th century, some trainers began using cruel methods, known as soring, to enhance their horses’ way of going. This practice has been a cloud over the Walking Horse show industry ever since.

Soring is illegal, but the controversial practice of using stacks of pads in a shoeing package and showing horses with chains around their front pasterns has not been outlawed. Nevertheless, many equestrians enjoy showing their Walking Horses, but don’t want to compete against sored horses or those wearing heavy shoes. For those exhibitors, the National provides an alternative.

Horses at the National must be barefoot, plain shod or “lite shod.” Horses are still subject to the same inspections as entries at traditional Walking Horse shows to prevent sored horses from competing.

Watch some scenes from last year’s NWHA National.

The National includes regular pleasure and performance classes in both western and English, but gives Walking Horse versatility a place to shine as well. The show also includes gaited dressage, western riding, barrel racing, pole bending, trail obstacle and jumping. The National All Around awards honor horses that excel in multiple disciplines during the week-long show.

For more information about the National, visit TheNWHANational.com.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I join commenter Galadriel in praising the National Walking Horse Association for doing what is in the best interest of these lovely and loving, gentle and generous horses.
    The whole world is helped whenever integrity and unselfish regard for our fellow-beings leads the way and holds sway.

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